The United States Needs Black Nationalism, Now

Malcolm X campaigned for Black Nationalism. The assassination of Malcolm by the devil white class should have proved to everyone that his strategy was the only way. He outlined that nationalism was the tool that countries used to free themselves from imperialism. Ho Chi Minh for example understood that in order to eventually achieve communism he had to unify the national community under a common umbrella.

Malcolm X, like Martin Luther King, is whitewashed. Many foolishly argue that after he went to Mecca he was awakened to the benevolence of the white race. The other reading of Malcolm of course is that he was a dangerous hateful thug. This is exactly the double blackmail outlined by Slavoj Zizek in which useless white liberals propose total integration and therefore a growth of white nationalism while useless white conservatives propose total protectionism which cements white nationalism in its violent roots.

Black nationalism on the other hand would be a lot like other independence movements. Investments within the community by itself and by its allies to gain wealth. Policing, schools, hospitals and other community shared entities would be controlled by the community. Allied whites who would like to visit could get a visa.

The territory of said state is contentious. This is why Africa has been proposed has a natural return. The example of Liberia brings into question the ethics of such a return. However, given the hysteria around young black males who live peaceful lives we could assume that with enough organization our homegrown cops would not only surrender but be begging for an honest job in the new state.

Things are not this easy. A physical territory let alone some sort of official economic state is complicated by the severe economic exploitation of black Americans as well as the plethora of weaponry held by the United States. The US has enough gear to occupy every country in Africa and clearly given the last few weeks these forces will be turned inside of the United States’ own borders. The police state has already effectively imposed permanent imperialism upon black American citizens without a full implementation of official military forces.

Malcolm X urged black Americans not to weigh the odds. He observed that when white Americans overthrew the British Empire that the deck was stacked. However the rallying cry of “give me liberty or give me death”, while sure resulting in a whole lot of death also gave white Americans a whole lot of liberty.

The absurdity of America’s police state and mass incarceration state are explicitly linked to slavery and race. Malcom X remarks that in a nation to be a second class citizen is not possible. There are citizens, and then there are slaves. This level of master and slave disguised as first and second class citizenry has adapted to new forms from slavery to Jim Crow to mass incarceration slavery.

While I do think modernity has muddied the waters a tad in terms of explicit expressions of race the banner of black nationalism is a way to both unify a movement and give it a direction. In many ways the split in America is a generational one. Patriarchy still likely is the world’s most effective system of mass incarceration. Refugees and immigrants are rendered stateless by austerity and climate chaos. Native Americans had their land stolen and are also second class citizens for the state. LGBTQ folks face the challenge of being outside the unifying symbols within any nation. And folks like Adolph Reed are indispensable in exiting the limitations of race reduction which is very much the problem of politically correct white apologists today. We live in an age of unparalleled global inequality where money itself is the leading ideology. Black artists, none more so than James Baldwin can help us exit reducing blacks people to a victimized or violent racial category.

Despite all of these modern legitimate complications, America remains quite infantile. Despite the theoretical legitimacy of Trump’s rise being linked to other things besides race, we clearly have the reverse effect. Rather America uses race to explain all its fears and discontents. Trump, his supporters and even some of his well-intentioned detractors have applied all sorts of meaning to his rise but without his racial dynamic it’s hard to see this pure opportunist having any resonance for either side.

Therefore, whether or not race is the most important problem (itself a harmful question), we should recognize that it is the first question for America. America can get away with all its bullshit because the bullshit is also racist.

The dynamics then amount to one of occupation by an imperialist nation over a colonized nation. Yes, I am sure as Trump says “there are good people on both sides”. However, we misread Malcolm X when we feel the need to exonerate “good” white people. Malcolm X was here to say ALL white people are the devil. Not because every one of us are but because this was a way to create the necessary unity to engage in an independence movement. White people as a class are the occupying force. It doesn’t erase the possibility of class traitors on either side but it certainly puts to bed any sort of idea of privilege politics.

Privilege politics of today implies a false universal. We all are the same class but some of us are closer to the ideal and therefore privileged. Wrong. There are separate nations and one nation has more resources. Announcing ones own privilege implies a permanence of white rule.

White nationalism existed from the day of America’s founding. To be white is to be free, to be black is to be a slave. Liberals want us all to be free. Conservatives want us all to be white. Black nationalism must intervene and insist that for a black person to be free they FIRST must be black.

The first step is to establish this independent political, economic and social organization. How fundamentalist one wants to be with the nationalist label is a strategic debate that this blue eyed devil will not engage in. However investing in black business, schools, health etc. is crucial. So is creating organizations that will collect reparations and free prisoners.

Malcolm X, among other things, was a joyful speaker. Put him in front of a crowd of black people and his radical love for his people shines brightly. The United States itself proves the limit of a nation. However, if we ever want to become a just nation we must first elevate black folks to be first class citizens. They never have been in America.

In America there are different rules depending on race. If you are white, there is a flawed democracy, rule of law and social welfare system. If you are black, you are colonized. For black people in America the state is not their state. The state is at war with them. The state uses them as slaves and discards them. The state terrorizes and jails them. The state, when dealing with black Americans has no law or ethical code. The rules are wartime.

For all of my fellow white nationals, this may seem like a big change. However, as Americans know a state at war is one that drains its own budget and divides its own people. The more progressive black community may be able to implement many of the universal services our Empire can no longer give to us. Medicare for all, abortion access and free public college may all be on the table for this new state.

America’s gambit right now is that its white nationalism will continue to provide. However, we are finding that our own racism divides us. Rather than organize against the rich our white nationalist state thinks there is more to gain out of establishing first and second class citizens, which has smoothly transitioned to blatant xenophobia.

The good news is that a divided state is a weak state. There is no common unity for the white race at this time. Now is the time for the black state to unify behind a jubilant message of black nationalism. Just as in 1776, tyranny has run amok. A common enemy who has overstretched himself upon several projects of waning dominance makes the situation ripe for the underclass to rise. Pride for and love of blackness will overwhelm the black hole of post-modern whiteness which can only know it is present when it kills a tangibly loved black subject. For hundreds of years inopportune death has been the inevitable state of too many black Americans. That makes today the opportune time for liberty.

Nick Pemberton writes and works from Saint Paul, Minnesota. He loves to receive feedback at